We just got done watching the movie Raising Helen. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s the synopsis:
When her sister and brother-in-law die in a car accident, a young modeling agency assistant, Helen (Kate Hudson), takes on the role as guardian of their surviving three children: teenager Audrey, 10-year-old Kenny and kindergarten-age kiddie Sarah. As she tries to juggle the responsibilities of her new quasi-parenthood with the effects on her lifestyle and her job, she also befriends a local pastor, Dan (John Corbett), who falls in love with her in this new rom-com from the director of “Runaway Bride.”
I think it was billed as a comedy, and you might believe the love story is at the front of the movie, but it’s not. This is all about Helen finding her way as she suddenly finds herself, unexpectedly, a parent to three. About her journey and discovery of herself and the children. This was an enchanting movie, poignant and lovely, sad and funny. Go here if you’re interested in seeing the movie trailer.
But what made me think and cry just a little, is when we find out just why Helen was chosen to be the children’s guardian. I won’t spoil it for you, because it’s really the explanation that wraps the story up, but it pinpointed exactly why it’s been such a difficult thing for Josh and I to choose a guardian for Brianna.
Let me start by saying this is something we’ve wrestled with and discussed for a year. And before anyone lectures me and tells me we should have made this decision by now. I KNOW. I know. I know. I do know. I lost my mom when I was 17. My brother was 10. I know it’s possible that something could happen to the two of us at any time. I guess… No, I know the reason we havent’ chosen before now is that we feel very limited in our choices. My brothers are all young, single bachelors. Josh’s brother and sister-in-law would be very happy to raise Brianna, I know they would. They have a teenage boy and a 5 year old. But Brianna isn’t going to grow up knowing them, not really. They live in North Carolina and most likely, we will only move further away, not closer. And sometimes I wonder… if they ever got divorced, who would Brianna live with? What would happen to her? When I think about her living with them, it doesn’t feel like the right fit. They are quite different than Josh and I in their ideals, opinions, and values.
Josh and I have also discussed both of our parents as options. Of course they’d say yes, they’d be her guardians. But Josh’s parents both have health problems. And my parents, while still young, have raised four children and taking in a young child would be an incredibly life altering experience.
Any friends that Josh and I have are almost all, without fail, either single or married without children and living a lifestyle that isn’t child friendly. Or they’re divorced.
It just seems like there is no choice. Who do we choose? How do we choose? Of course we want the people who are most like us to raise Brianna. To teach her our values and beliefs and ideals. To raise her much like we would. To love her. Maybe not as much as we love her, but as close as possible. How do we find that? How can I possibly ever feel comfortable with making that choice when I don’t think what Brianna needs is any of our options?
I can’t even type this without the tears coming. And it’s not so much the thought of not getting to see her grow- while that hurts. Oh God does it hurt. But it’s the idea of her not having us. At least one of us, to guide her and love her and hold her when she needs us. I know I have to make this decision, write the will, and find some peace with it. I just don’t know how that’s possible. How do you choose when there are no choices?